‘Living Proof’ Proves Its Worth

Natalie Dest, Arts & Entertainments Editor

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You can stream State Champs’ newest album “Living Proof” on Apple Music and Spotify.

 

In a genre as crowded as pop-punk, it has become increasingly more difficult to produce songs that stand out in the scene, yet State Champs newest album seems to defy all odds.

Since their formation back in 2010, these fellow New Yorkers have been gradually reshaping the world of pop-punk. Yet with their newest album “Living Proof” released via Pure Noise Records, the band is emerging bigger and better than ever.

Easily the band’s most ambitious release so far, some may say that this LP has showcased State Champs at their strongest in their career. With the band’s fall tour dates alongside Fall Out Boy and Blink-182, not to mention their summer-long performances at Van’s Warped Tour, it is clear that “Living Proof” is helping the band prove their worth within punk music.

With previous LP’s such as “The Finer Things” and “Around The World And Back,” “Living Proof” is nothing but a refined and larger than life rendition of the two. Throughout the newest album’s 13 tracks, Champs successfully explores their wide musical range, from hard-hitting explosive tracks all the way to emotional-punk ballads.

Opening track “Criminal” starts the album off with an immediate strong presence. The track’s exceptional vocals from lead singer Dereck DiScanio, heartfelt riffs and frenetic drumming from Evan Ambrosio, the band’s outstanding musicianship makes this song a monumental instrumental opening. This dynamic opener will leave the adrenaline pumping through you, simply buzzing for the rest of the album.

A beautiful introduction to the track “Frozen” delivers a fluttering breeze into the album. The delicate guitar line is complemented by the bass that gives the song the extra kick it needs. The harmonic progression within the chorus is appealing to the ear, as DiScanio sings “You had the opportunity to find out just what we could be / But all was frozen after all.”

“Crystal Ball” feels like a summer anthem. Although the track may start off slower than the previous two, it is not slow enough to feel like any momentum and energy has been lost. Being the band’s second single off the album, both Tyler Szalkowski and Tony Diaz’s guitar playing abilities are showcased as the steady guitar riffs lead the song into a driving tune.

Following “Crystal Ball” is Champs first single off the album “Dead and Gone,” one of the band’s most impressive singles yet to be released. Co-written by Blink 182’s bassist Mark Hoppus, “Dead and Gone” is written and performed in true pop-punk fashion. An infectious chorus, inviting harmonies and the classic punk use of “Woah-oh’s,” “Dead and Gone” is an instant crowd favorite, as DiScanio sings the words “You only get redemption when you’re dead and gone.”

Ambrosio’s drumming on the track “Lightning” brings the album back to a fast-paced, pop-punk production that serves as a fan favorite. The opening drum line is an impressive way to start the song, bringing the energy to a new point of the LP. Musically, each member gets a chance to show off their skill with featured parts throughout the track. “Lightning” is a track that State Champs can stand behind proudly with their chins held high.

“Our Time To Go” and “The Fix-Up” channel pop-punk ballads that are somewhat different for the band. “OTTG” is the first acoustic track for “Living Proof,” beginning the song with an acoustic guitar then gradually becoming full swing around the 45-second mark. “The Fix-Up” starts off with a slower track with the immediate visualization of a crowd waving their hands back and forth throughout a crowd.

“Cut Through The Static” lands at track number ten, containing the lyrics that the album title comes from, “Let’s cut through the static and be the living proof.” As another highlight on the album, this song is very open to interpretation for fans. The track’s fast-paced guitar riffs and aggressive drums are simply the backbones for their live crowds.

“Mine Is Gold” is the third single on the album, and rather a song that stands out due to its sudden change in tempo at the chorus. Catching you by a surprise in a good way, the chorus is strong and remains a hard-hitting “banger” for not only diehard fans, but other listeners in the punk music scene.

Concluding the rest of the album is the piano ballad “Time Machine” featuring Mark Hoppus. Stepping out of their comfort zone and staple music, Champs is seen to channel a different style song their not usually seen to perform. Being a risky move, it pays off in the band’s favor, definitely landing the slot as an interesting favorite.

Throughout all 13 tracks, State Champs never seems to fail the versatility of pop-punk music. No song feels like a filler — not even the slower tracks. Every song seems to highlight the purpose of this album; how to overcome experiences of both the ups and downs of life and making it through whatever is thrown at you.

“Living Proof” stems from finding the independence within you and embracing mixed emotions that may fall on your lap. Although this LP may be somewhat different from their previous material, it still remains distinctly State Champs branded and worth supporting.

Catch State Champs on tour this fall alongside Fall Out Boy and Blink-182. You can find tickets at statechampsny.com and on their twitter @statechampsny.